September 1, 2014

Judge Strikes Down Hawaii Law Limiting GMO Crops

Crop Spraying

U.S. District Court Judge Barry M. Kurren has struck down the Kaua'i county law against genetically modified (GM) crops, saying it is preempted by Hawaiian state law. The order forbids county officials from implementing and enforcing Ordinance 960, which required more disclosure from huge biotech companies about pesticide use and GMO farming. The Ordinance also required buffer zones for pesticide spraying around schools, medical facilities, waterways, shorelines, and roadways and mandated County Environmental and Public Health Impact Studies. The plaintiffs in this case include Syngenta Seeds Inc. DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Dow Chemical's Agrigenetics Inc., and BASF Plant Science LPs. The defendants include Kaua'i County, Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network … [Read more...]

USDA Takes Last Step in Approving Herbicide Tolerant Crops

Crop Spraying

The United States Department of Agriculture this week announced the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for corn and soybean plants resistant to 2,4-D. And Food & Water Watch said, "history will repeat itself." Dow's corn and soybean plants, known as "Enlist" varieties, are genetically engineered to be resistant to two herbicides: 2,4-D, an ingredient in Agent Orange, and glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Environmental and food safety advocates are alarmed at the huge increase in pesticide use that accompanied the approval and planting of other Roundup Ready crops. The draft version of the environmental impact statement released in January 2014 by the government is the same as the new analysis. The agency did not address the risks Food & Water Watch … [Read more...]

Grocery Manufacturers Association to Sue VT over GMO Law

GMA sues Vermont of GMO

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) will sue the state of Vermont over its new GMO labeling law. The announcement of the lawsuit came yesterday right after Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law a bill requiring that all foods sold in the state that contain genetically engineered ingredients be labeled as such. The law is the first of its kind in the nation. “I am proud that we’re leading the way in the United States to require labeling of genetically engineered food. More than 60 countries have already restricted or labeled these foods, and now one state – Vermont -- will also ensure that we know what’s in the food we buy and serve our families,” Shumlin told the crowd who had gathered for the signing. The law goes into effect July 1, 2016. After that date, violators face … [Read more...]

Jackson County, Oregon Set to Ban GE Crops

GMO-sm

According to the Center for Food Safety, a twenty-person Citizens' Initiative Review (CIR) has conducted a review of the Jackson County ballot initiative to ban genetically engineered (GE) crops from the county. The findings of that review concluded that "farms in Jackson County are at 'serious risk' of contamination by GE crops." This contamination can cost farmers a lot of money. Last year, shipments of alfalfa exported from Washington state to Japan were rejected because they were contaminated by GE crops. Japan, along with many other countries around the world, bans GE foods or requires labeling. Measure 15-119 will be on the ballot on May 20, 2014. The non-partisan Review looked at the measure and heard testimony from experts. Center for Food Safety attorney George Kimbrell was … [Read more...]

FDA Weakens Public Process on GMO Animals

GE-Salmon

Food & Water Watch is criticizing the FDA for weakening the public process on approval of GMO animals. The agency is disbanding the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (VMAC), which peer reviews FDA's risk analysis of genetically modified animals. The scientists on that committee were very critical of AquaBounty's GMO salmon, telling the FDA there was not sufficiency science to demonstrate animal safety. The government claims that the review process is too costly. But Food & Water Watch filed a records request and discovered that the agency spent zero dollars in 2013 maintaining the committee, which included all administrative and labor costs. The FDA is close to approving the GMO salmon, despite many problems with growing facilities and opposition from consumer and food … [Read more...]

Extreme Levels of Roundup Found in GE Soy

Soyproducts

A new study conducted at Arctic University of Norway and published in the June issue of Food Chemistry has found that there are "extreme levels" of Roundup, an herbicide, in genetically engineered soy. The soybeans were harvested in Iowa. High levels of Roundup were found on 70% of the GE soy plants. The Roundup Ready GM soy comprises 93 to 94% of U.S. soybean production. The plant is genetically modified to tolerate exposure to glyphosate-based Roundup during its entire growth cycle. Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you about issues with these plants before. Roundup interrupts the shikimate pathway in plants and kills them. Scientists used to think that made the chemical safe for humans, but it has been discovered that our gut bacteria, which are critical to our immune systems and … [Read more...]

Vermont Set to Enact Statewide GE Food Labeling Bill

GMO-sm

The Vermont House voted to accept the Senate version of the GE labeling bill last week. Governor Shumlin is expected to sign the bill. All foods for sale in Vermont that are made with GE or GMO ingredients will have to carry a label effective July 1, 2016. The Center for Food Safety's executive director Andrew Kimbrell said, "this is an historic day for the people's right to know. It is now very clear that federal labeling of genetically engineered foods is going to happen in the foreseeable future. Should the industry try to challenge this law, Center for Food Safety will be there to help defend it and we are confident that it would survive any such challenge." While Vermont is not the first state to pass such a bill, it is the first bill that stands alone. No other states need to … [Read more...]

More Opposition to GMO Labeling Bill

GMOCorn

Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS), the single largest recipient of campaign funds from Koch Industries in 2010,  introduced a bill to Congress last week titled the "Safe and Accurate Labeling Act of 2014" (HR 4432) that is anything but. The bill would stop states from requiring labels on food produced from genetically engineered (GE) and genetically modified (GMO) products. It would also make voluntary labeling for GE foods the national standard, ensure that GMOs can be labeled as "natural", and create its own rules for non-GMO labeling. Food & Water Watch opposes this bill, as it is written exactly as Monsanto, the corporation that holds most patents to GMO foods, would want. Politico leaked the language back in January 2014 as the work of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. … [Read more...]

Vermont Senate Approves GMO Labeling Bill

GMOtomato

The Vermont Senate has approved H.112, a bill to label GMO or GE foods, with a vote of 28 to 2. Tee bill now goes to the House for a final vote before it heads to the governor's desk. Governor Peter Shumlin has indicated he is likely to sign it, which would make Vermont the first state to require labeling of genetically engineered products. If the bill does become law, it would go into effect on July 1, 2016. While other states such as Maine have similar bills on the books, they also have trigger clauses, which means the law does not go into effect unless neighboring states pass labeling laws. Vermont Right to Know GMOs, a collaborative project of several consumer advocacy groups, approved the action. That group has submitted petitions to the government with more than 36,000 … [Read more...]

FDA Asked to Monitor False Industry Claims About GMO Salmon

Salmon

Food & Water Watch and Center for Food Safety asked FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to stop erroneous statements by AquaBounty Technologies. The company's vice present Henry Clifford told the press that the government will let the company sell its GMO salmon without a label to inform consumers. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch said in a statement, "FDA's failure to take action on AquaBounty's blatant misrepresentation of the facts typifies the agency's entire hands-off regulatory review of GMO salmon. It also illustrates the dangerous level of miscommunication between FDA and AquaBounty that, historically, has caused the agency to overlook critical risks associated with GMO salmon." Environmental experts are concerned that the genetically engineered … [Read more...]

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